England are down but not out as India win second Test
Hopes of a miracle evaporate as England's batsmen are bundled out for just 158 on the final day at Visakhapatnam
England's dreams of victory in the second Test against India rapidly melted away as the tourists were bundled out for just 158 in their second innings. They lost their final seven wickets for just 71 runs as the hosts won by 246 runs on the final day at Visakhapatnam.
The dismissal of captain Alastair Cook to the last ball of the fourth day turned out to be hugely significant, as the England ship was sunk by India's spinners.
"So often it is hope that gnaws away at you," says Vic Marks of The Guardian, but "any expectations of a historic rearguard action were soon quashed by an India side who know how to exploit their own conditions ruthlessly".
India asserted their authority in the first innings of the match and were unable to get back into the game. "Despite a whole-hearted bowling display in India's second innings and the stoic rearguard of openers Alastair Cook and Haseeb Hameed on the fourth afternoon, the tourists were left with far too much to do on the final day," says Stephan Shemilt of the BBC.
"[Ravichandran] Ashwin and fellow spinner Ravi Jadeja had the ball turning, shooting and spitting, close fielders swarmed and appealed constantly, all while England did little more than play back on their stumps in a bid for shotless survival."
Batsman Ben Duckett is likely to pay the price for another poor performance. He was out to Ashwin for the third time in four innings, this time attempting to sweep. Spinner Zafar Ansari could also pay the price for a lacklustre performance.
"It would be kinder if the axe fell, so out of sorts did they seem," says Michael Atherton in The Times.
England are now up against it. "There are few tougher assignments in cricket than winning from behind here, a feat that only two touring sides in history – England in 1984-85 under David Gower and in 2012 under Alastair Cook – have managed," says Atherton. "It will take a monumental effort."
England have problems, but although they are down they are not out, says Marks. "One senses there is still great resolve within a squad who were made to look all too callow during their week in Visakhapatnam."
Geoffrey Boycott of the Daily Telegraph agrees. "I don't think India are as good as they think they are, and I don't believe England are as bad as India think they are," he says.
"The gap between the two teams is smaller than this result suggests... There is not much to choose between these teams but winning the toss and batting first is a big advantage. England can fight back in this series."